The young clerk at Casey’s rang up .99 cents on a cash register for the .99 cent bottle of water I purchased following an Abilene basketball game.
(It still amazes me that we pay for water.)
The clerk followed that up saying, “99 cents.”
There was a pause on my part as I plopped down two George Washingtons as it dawned on him he forgot sales tax.
The young clerk grew up in Iowa and had just moved to Kansas last week.
“They don’t tax food items in Iowa,” he said.
Is water a food item? I guess if 65 percent of my body is made up of water, it must be a needed staple.
Not all states are like Kansas which seemingly taxes everything and some things, like tobacco, gasoline, alcohol and my cell phone bill, more than others.
There are five states that don’t have a sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. I had fun shopping on one business trip to Portland. If the sign read $1.28, you paid $1.28.
There is a reason why a lot of wealthy people make their residence in Florida. That state, along with Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas, do not have a state income tax.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is campaigning to have Kansas be one of those states.
All 50 states have some type of property tax and it’s a safe bet it is a lot cheaper to own property in Kansas than Texas or Florida.
With no state sales tax, although some local taxes on sales, to finance state government operations, Alaska depends primarily on petroleum revenues.
My, all of this tax talk is taxing on the brain.
Last week Gov. Brownback sent a bill to legislators that would dramatically reduce the state’s income tax rate: the top rate would drop to 3.9 percent (from 4.5 percent) and the lowest rate to 1.9 percent (from 3 percent).
Eventually, our governor hopes to eliminate the income tax altogether. Proponents of this move argue that it will drive economic growth, while maintaining revenue streaming from a slightly increased sales tax. Classic economics tends to reinforce this idea: taxing labor can affect the incentive to work, and as Kansans receive more in their payroll checks, they have increased incentives to become more productive, some say.
Still, the state needs money to operate. The recent snowstorm cost something like $6.2 million.
Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis said, “The income tax cuts that he is proposing really disproportionally benefit the wealthiest of Kansans.”
Isn’t the federal government trying to do just the opposite?
One thing Gov. Brownback could do is back an effort to get Greyhound racing back at Frontenac and Wichita.
Abilene’s new representative John Barker has been leading the charge for the greyhound owners and breeders in his district.
The longtime judge is trying to get all the parties together to support HB 2168 and SB 114.
The measure is not much different than past legislative efforts which failed.
But, bringing greyhound racing back to Kansas would generate jobs, which will generate taxes, income or otherwise.
The bill forces another vote in Sedgwick County to allow slot machines at Wichita Greyhound Park and allow the state to rake in less of the slot machine revenue and the tracks to be more profitable. Since the state owns two casinos and runs the lottery, it’s hard to argue that Kansas shouldn’t be in the business of gambling.
Horse racing could also return to The Woodlands and possibly Eureka Downs, but the racetrack at Anthony Downs has been sold.